Author Topic: History of designing the Shuttle  (Read 10481 times)

Offline Orbiter Obvious

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History of designing the Shuttle
« on: 12/04/2005 12:18 AM »
I keep hearing things like the Air Force had a lot to do with the design of the Shuttle and how it went through lots of different designs and arguments before they finally went and built them.

Was it a mistake?
Could they have chosen a better design?

Offline Firestarter

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RE: History of designing the Shuttle
« Reply #1 on: 12/04/2005 01:48 AM »
This is a very very long read, but well worth it if you want to see the background to the birth of the Space Shuttle.

http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/shuttle.htm

Offline British NASA

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RE: History of designing the Shuttle
« Reply #2 on: 12/04/2005 08:36 PM »
From the link above, this seems to be the critical point in US space flight.

Quote
1969 Feb 13 - Launch Vehicle: Shuttle.

    * Nixon forms Space Task Group Nation: USA.

      Vice President Agnew was made chairman of the group, which was to formulate a Post-Apollo Space Program, providing policy direction for future American efforts after the moon landing. The Groups final report proposed three alternate future programs:
          o At a funding level of $8 to $ 10 billion a year indefinitely, NASA could do it all - a manned expedition to Mars, permanent manned space bases in lunar orbit and the lunar surface, a 50-person space station in earth orbit, and a reusable space shuttle to support all of these projects on an economical basis
          o All of the objectives could be achieved, but the funding level kept at $ 8 billion per year, by deleting the manned lunar orbit station
          o At $ 5 billion per year, a program consisting of just the earth orbit station and the space shuttle could be funded - but no further manned exploration of the moon or planets

      Nixon rejected all of the alternatives and wanted something even cheaper.

Nixon for sure.

There's also more where there's inter-department conflicts on what the Shuttle should do, then the Air Force pushing their opinion in, which was forced on NASA when the money issue once again came up.

Offline Steve_the_Deev

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RE: History of designing the Shuttle
« Reply #3 on: 12/05/2005 04:03 PM »
My take on one Air Force reqmnt was with the design of the Payload bay and the weight the Shuttle could carry to Low Earth Orbit.  As most know the AF (DoD) and NRO folks all had their hands in the cookie jar of design requests.  So that drove the early design reqmnts.  That must've been in like 1970 or so.

I remember being a student at Florida Institute of Technology (1975ish) I barely ever heard anything about the Shuttle.  Once Columbia was getting close to shipment to KSC by the modified 747, then the word got ought that a new "Spaceship" was coming to the Kennedy Space Center. When I became a senior Mechanical Engineer in 1980 I had to start thinking about a job, that's how I got into the Shuttle Pgm!

Offline Dobbins

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RE: History of designing the Shuttle
« Reply #4 on: 12/05/2005 04:28 PM »
Quote
British NASA - 4/12/2005  4:36 PM

Nixon for sure.


It wouldn't have mattered if Nixon had accepted one of the STG proposals. Congress was out for NASA's blood, and even the cheapest of the three options would have been killed by Congress. The pared down Shuttle program barely survived a vote to kill it.

The Democratic party was controlling Congress at that time and the Liberal faction of the party was determined to gut NASA's budget to fund social programs.

John B. Dobbins

Offline rsp1202

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RE: History of designing the Shuttle
« Reply #5 on: 12/05/2005 07:02 PM »
We've got a conservative congress today and still can't afford the space program we want. Shortsightedness comes in all denominations.

Offline Mark Max Q

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RE: History of designing the Shuttle
« Reply #6 on: 12/05/2005 08:54 PM »
Quote
Steve_the_Deev - 5/12/2005  11:03 AM

My take on one Air Force reqmnt was with the design of the Payload bay and the weight the Shuttle could carry to Low Earth Orbit.  As most know the AF (DoD) and NRO folks all had their hands in the cookie jar of design requests.  So that drove the early design reqmnts.  That must've been in like 1970 or so.

I remember being a student at Florida Institute of Technology (1975ish) I barely ever heard anything about the Shuttle.  Once Columbia was getting close to shipment to KSC by the modified 747, then the word got ought that a new "Spaceship" was coming to the Kennedy Space Center. When I became a senior Mechanical Engineer in 1980 I had to start thinking about a job, that's how I got into the Shuttle Pgm!

Wow, so nothing like the CLV/CEV/SLDV? We know about their est. timetimes way in advance. I didn't know the Shuttle was pretty much unknown until right before shipping! Did th e media miss the boat, or was it a bit of a secret?

Offline Sergi Manstov

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RE: History of designing the Shuttle
« Reply #7 on: 12/06/2005 01:27 PM »
Quote
Orbiter Obvious - 3/12/2005  7:18 PM

Could they have chosen a better design?

I do like to say the Buran is a better version, but there is not massive differences. The Energia booster and automated controls are very important differences.

Offline Dobbins

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RE: History of designing the Shuttle
« Reply #8 on: 12/06/2005 01:34 PM »
Quote
rsp1202 - 5/12/2005  3:02 PM

We've got a conservative congress today and still can't afford the space program we want. Shortsightedness comes in all denominations.

Only a small minority in the present Republican party wants to cut NASA's budget. That was not true of the Democratic party of the late 1960s and early 1970s, a very sizable majority wanted to gut NASA.

This is still true to a lesser extent today, most of the hard core opponents to manned space flight are still members of the Democratic party, though they do not have near the clout they had 35 years ago.

John B. Dobbins

Offline rsp1202

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RE: History of designing the Shuttle
« Reply #9 on: 12/06/2005 02:16 PM »
The failure of the majority to push through the necessary funding is a failure of leadership. The lack of passion for space exploration crosses ideological lines. It takes a village.

Offline Dobbins

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RE: History of designing the Shuttle
« Reply #10 on: 12/06/2005 03:55 PM »
Quote
rsp1202 - 6/12/2005  10:16 AM

The failure of the majority to push through the necessary funding is a failure of leadership. The lack of passion for space exploration crosses ideological lines. It takes a village.

There is a vast difference between wanting to REDUCE the current funding for manned spaceflight and not wanting to increase it. Getting a small increase to 16.5 billion is far better than having it reduced to 15 billion dollars. Overall the Republicans are better for manned spaceflight than the Democrats are, a situation that I'm less than happy with because I could make a very long list of non-space related positions the Republicans have embraced that I dislike.

John B. Dobbins

Offline rsp1202

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RE: History of designing the Shuttle
« Reply #11 on: 12/06/2005 04:34 PM »
Always hoping for a few more Brown's and Mikulski's in Congress (at least when it comes to space), a few less Proxmire's and Mondale's (yeow, I think they're all Democrats!), and a lot more entrepreneurs like Paul Allen and Robert Bigelow, with a Delos Harriman thrown in for good measure.

Offline ADC9

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RE: History of designing the Shuttle
« Reply #12 on: 12/07/2005 04:39 AM »
If Kerry had of gotten in we wouldn't be talking about finding an extra few billion, we'd be talking about how exciting KSC now is since being open to the public to look around the former U.S. space program spaceport.

Offline British NASA

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RE: History of designing the Shuttle
« Reply #13 on: 12/07/2005 06:30 PM »
Quote
ADC9 - 6/12/2005  11:39 PM

If Kerry had of gotten in we wouldn't be talking about finding an extra few billion, we'd be talking about how exciting KSC now is since being open to the public to look around the former U.S. space program spaceport.

Didn't Kerry have a photoshoot on an orbiter flight deck before the election. I remember him in a clean suit. Did he somehow not support the NASA budget, given your comment?

Offline Dobbins

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RE: History of designing the Shuttle
« Reply #14 on: 12/07/2005 06:52 PM »
Quote
British NASA - 7/12/2005  2:30 PM

Quote
ADC9 - 6/12/2005  11:39 PM

If Kerry had of gotten in we wouldn't be talking about finding an extra few billion, we'd be talking about how exciting KSC now is since being open to the public to look around the former U.S. space program spaceport.

Didn't Kerry have a photoshoot on an orbiter flight deck before the election. I remember him in a clean suit. Did he somehow not support the NASA budget, given your comment?

The Kerry campaign accused NASA of a "dirty trick" and of leaking the pictures of him in the clean suit.
http://www.washtimes.com/national/20040728-121533-2285r.htm

Kerry was strongly opposed to the VSE during the campaign.
http://www.spacepolitics.com/archives/000168.html

John B. Dobbins

Offline rsp1202

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RE: History of designing the Shuttle
« Reply #15 on: 12/07/2005 07:23 PM »
Kerry's clean-suit photo ranks right up there with Dukakis in the tank and President Bush aboard the Lincoln. But . . . at least Kerry showed up at JSC. Bush never made it over while Texas governor, nor as president until Columbia services. Big surprise: he just didn't care.

Proxmire will best be remembered as a verb, as in "the SETI program was Proxmired." Mondale had a fairly distinguished record in the Senate and as Veep, but his record of opposing manned space was deplorable. It remains to be seen whether Bush's VSE will have similar effect to JFK/Apollo -- which at least was properly funded.

Offline rsp1202

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RE: History of designing the Shuttle
« Reply #16 on: 12/07/2005 07:30 PM »
Cut any politician -- they don't bleed "space." None of us in this newsgroup could give them a transfusion.

Offline Terrible Twosome

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RE: History of designing the Shuttle
« Reply #17 on: 12/08/2005 04:04 AM »
Quote
rsp1202 - 7/12/2005  2:23 PM

Kerry's clean-suit photo ranks right up there with Dukakis in the tank and President Bush aboard the Lincoln. But . . . at least Kerry showed up at JSC. Bush never made it over while Texas governor, nor as president until Columbia services. Big surprise: he just didn't care.

Proxmire will best be remembered as a verb, as in "the SETI program was Proxmired." Mondale had a fairly distinguished record in the Senate and as Veep, but his record of opposing manned space was deplorable. It remains to be seen whether Bush's VSE will have similar effect to JFK/Apollo -- which at least was properly funded.

Kerry didn't go to JSC, he went to KSC and promptly followed his trip with his science only release to the press, which basically meant KSC shouldn't exsist. His policy advisor quickly tried to clarify.

Bush's VSE and Columbia speeches are two of his best.

Offline publiusr

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RE: History of designing the Shuttle
« Reply #18 on: 12/08/2005 06:40 PM »
Quote
Dobbins - 7/12/2005  1:52 PM

Quote
British NASA - 7/12/2005  2:30 PM

Quote
ADC9 - 6/12/2005  11:39 PM

If Kerry had of gotten in we wouldn't be talking about finding an extra few billion, we'd be talking about how exciting KSC now is since being open to the public to look around the former U.S. space program spaceport.

Didn't Kerry have a photoshoot on an orbiter flight deck before the election. I remember him in a clean suit. Did he somehow not support the NASA budget, given your comment?

The Kerry campaign accused NASA of a "dirty trick" and of leaking the pictures of him in the clean suit.
http://www.washtimes.com/national/20040728-121533-2285r.htm

Kerry was strongly opposed to the VSE during the campaign.
http://www.spacepolitics.com/archives/000168.html


The DNC has an excellent chance to show how gov't CAN do things better than private industry by supporting NASA and making the alt.spacers look like the blow-hards they are. It would be a way of showing how weather and com-sats change our lives--and how they would not exist were it not for Uncle Sam, as I explain below:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AmericaSpace/message/381
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AmericaSpace/message/374
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AmericaSpace/message/384


What kills me is how the Libertarian Party Griffin Bashers drive to the Beltway on the public interstate system to tell us how we don't need gov't. The DNC is shooting itself in the foot, and they need to put the word "progress" back into "Progressive," otherwise they will continue to lose votes. So help me--if we had to build TVA all over again it wouldn't get done. The Dems would oppose it over snail darters, and the blue-blood GOP'ers would oppose it--unless it were for Iraqis they think more of than folks here.

If you are an engineer--you don't have ANY friends in DC

I think it is time for a "Month Without Space"
http://www.spacedaily.com/news/nasa-04za.html


Offline Mark Max Q

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RE: History of designing the Shuttle
« Reply #19 on: 12/08/2005 07:56 PM »
Wow, had no idea about this.

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